Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) recently announced a partnership with VMware to deploy the US-based virtualization firm’s AirWatch system to create an Electronic Flight Air Bag (EFB) solution.
The EFB system is comprised of hardware, software, and applications which will replace PAL’s paper-based reference materials such as flight manuals and aircraft operations rules.
Selino Jalalon, PAL manager for flight technical and flight operations department, said the national carrier’s partnership with VMware will help the airline achieve the goal of rendering safe and reliable journey for its passengers.
“Security and reliability are critical components of our business. Moving to a secure and mobile EFB system has enabled us to fulfill both objectives,” he said.
“The modular nature of VMware AirWatch has made the transition much easier, enabling us to easily integrate all our existing platforms and IT solutions to the new environment,” Jalalon pointed out.
Emmanuel C. Portugal, country manager of VMware Philippines, assured that data that go into the EFB are protected, and that intrusions from unauthorized sources are barred.
“Our collaboration with Philippine Airlines is another demonstration of how VMware AirWatch can help businesses, achieve true enterprise mobility and enhance data security, especially those looking to innovate and transform their operations in tightly regulated industries,” said Portugal.
Before the deployment of the new system, PAL has to manually update any revision or discrepancy in compliance with strict government regulations.
PAL has around 700 to 800 pilots, he said, each of them issued iPads, the repository of the digital version of the flight manuals, aircraft operation procedures, navigational charts, among others.
Jalalon said PAL pilots undergo new training every month to update them on the aircraft operation and new technologies.
He said the VMware AirWatch pushes, delivers, and monitors the applications in the EFB to guard against intrusion. Eliminating the reliance on the paper-based manuals and aircraft procedures will help eliminate flight delays caused by missing pages, he said.
PAL implemented the AirWatch adoption in 2013 after carefully studying it, learning about it in conferences.
Jalalon said at first, they had paper-based manuals in the first year and second year, and gradually did away with it, relying only on the digital version in iPads. “We are one of the first airlines to use AirWatch,” he said.
As it transitioned from a cumbersome paper system, the electronic system enhanced efficiency by reducing operational and manpower costs arising from printing and binding. It also promoted a greener work environment.
It also was able to offload from each flight at least 75 kilograms, the estimated weight of all paper-based Flight Bag documents.
“The transition to an EFB system has saved Philippine Airlines significant costs and managed to cut down load consumption of 2,600 reams of paper annually — at least 75 kilograms, resulting in a more environmentally sustainable operating model,” the airline said.